Why Do You Launch?
My alarm is screaming at me and I’m slowly trying to open my eyes and figure out what’s going on.
As the haze clears from my mind, I hit the button and all goes silent.
It’s at this moment that I have to make a choice.
Do I get up and get back on the path? Or be indulgent, sleep in and regret it for the rest of the day?
So, I do what I always do. I get up, get my coffee and start the process all over again knowing that I’ve already earned a small victory for the day.
This is the essence of Launch. Always improving, always pushing forward, always making progress.
It’s a lifestyle I live every day, but it wasn’t until recently that I fully understood why.
It used to be easy…
Back in the day I used to have tunnel vision.
The only thing that mattered was my ability to throw a baseball as hard as possible somewhere near the strike zone.
So I trained.
I lifted weights, I did sprints, I played long toss, I did as much as possible and never questioned it once.
Nobody ever had to tell me to do my work because I knew that getting after it was the only way forward. It was the only way for me to stay on the path that I loved and living the life that I had dreamed of.
But then one day it was gone, everything was ripped away in one fell swoop and I was left in a free fall.
December 2, 2015…the deadline.
That day started off just like any other.
I woke up, got some food, worked out and went on with my day as normal.
In my mind it was going to be one of the best days of my life. It was the day that my contract with the Indians was going to get renewed at a guaranteed salary. I was injured at the time but was progressing through my rehab and didn’t give it a second thought.
I’d talked to my agent leading up to the deadline and there was no cause for concern. We discussed every scenario and none of them ended up with me being released.
But then it happened.
I got a call and was notified that I was no longer a part of the organization. They had decided to let me go due to the fact that I’d suffered a major elbow injury and my status for the upcoming season was up in the air.
It was a smart move on their part, but that didn’t make it any easier.
The Indians were the team that I grew up with, the team that had given me my chance at a big-league career, and the team that stuck by my side through the many ups and downs.
And now I was out on my own, free to sign with whoever was willing to take a chance.
That day was the beginning of an 18-month free fall that had me wondering where to go next. I was confused, frustrated, pissed off and undecided as to whether or not I should keep pursuing my career or move on to something else.
I had always told myself that I would walk away as soon as I felt like I couldn’t hack it, but that was a tough call to make.
Luckily, the Seattle Mariners did it for me. I was released from the team in AAA Tacoma on July 2, 2017 and never looked back.
Finding a new motivation
After some much-needed time to decompress, I started to realize that I was never really attached to the game of baseball. Sure, I loved playing, but that’s not what kept me inspired every single day.
It didn’t click until I started thinking back to a day when I was still in Cleveland, but unable to play due to my injury…
That week, the team was on the road and I was stuck in my rental house out in Westlake, about 30 minutes from the stadium. It was a weekend, so I didn’t have any physical therapy that day, or any other reason to leave the house.
I was sitting around, bored and wondering what to do, so I did what came natural…
I got up, laced up my shoes and went outside on the sidewalk to do sprints out in front of the house.
Keep in mind…I was an active Major League Player at the time, but I didn’t care. I was bored, slightly depressed and unsure about my future.
When I came in after the workout, I started thinking about my situation and tears immediately came to my eyes.
I felt worthless.
Stuck with a broken arm, unable to perform my job and forced to wait out a healing process that could take up to 18 months.
As I was sitting in the living room that day, something changed within me. That was the first day that I ever really figured out what was driving me, and it wasn’t what I expected.
It wasn’t money, or fame, or cars or anything superficial.
That day I realized that the pursuit of constant growth was what kept me motivated and moving forward.
Baseball was the vehicle that I’d used to pursue it for the first 30 years of my life and now that it was gone, I had to move on.
As I reminisced about that day in Ohio, my mindset slowly got more and more positive. I knew that all I had to do was find something new and I’d be good to go.
Fast forward to today.
I’m in a great place both mentally and physically, not because I have it all figured out, but because I’ve found a new worthwhile pursuit.
I’m forcing myself to do hard things every day and it feels great.
For me, training has taken up the void that baseball left. I can push myself, track my progress, and continue down the path.
Plus, it’s fun knowing that I’ve already won the day at 6am. It allows me to get my work in early so I can focus on what’s next for the day, which is usually figuring out how to build Launch Coffee Company into something special.
And even though patience is my worst attribute, I’ve figured out that it’s all about enjoying the process.
One step at a time, one day at a time, one level at a time.
My process never ends, and it never will. It only evolves and gets better, but that’s the way I like it.
Why do you Launch? What’s driving you forward every day? Let us know in the comments or on Instagram, we’d love to hear your story!